Need thousands of dollars worth of renovations in your home, but only have a handful of magic markers? Not a problem, if you're Charlie Kratzer. Mr. Kratzer, of Lexington, Kentucky, wanted something unique to cover the sea of endless cream-colored paint on his basement walls. He started the project mid-wall, by drawing a copy of the "Salon" by Picasso, and the idea took off. Through most of the spacious basement there is black line-drawing — around the pinball machine and the pool table and over the bathtub and toilet. You can view the entire basement artwork here, and see if you can spot Sherlock Holmes, Winston Churchill, The Walrus and the Carpenter from Alice, the Marx Brothers, and R2D2.
In one Elyria, Ohio judge's courtroom a defendant who spits on the jury can expect the above treatment. Neither the judge nor the jury were willing to give the defendant the death sentence he requested either. Perhaps because crucifixion in front of the courthouse or stoning by the victim's family are not usual forms of capital punishment...anywhere. Life in prison with no possibility of parole was the sentence handed down.
A Wasilla, Alaska distillery is producing a smoked salmon flavored vodka. It was made with use in Bloody Marys in mind, but is being used in other drinks as well. One of the distillery owners says the successful formula was number 48. Some of the other 47, he says, were disgusting. Only the first 47?
This campy spectacular was long unavailable in the USA. I watched it last night and can report that it is full of prime-grade weirdness. If you have ever wanted to see Caesar Romero transplant a woman's brain into the body of a winged lion, now is your chance!
News of the Weird/Pro Edition/Weird 2.0 You're Still Not Cynical Enough
A Few More Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
June 29, 2010
(datelines June 19-26) (links correct as of June 28)
Weird 2.0 "To see what is in front of one's nose requires a constant struggle"—George Orwell
"That's close enough for government work"—unknown
"Nero Fiddles While Rome Burns"—Rome Daily Inquirer, 7-18-64A.D.
Close Enough: One of the U.S. Treasury Department's inspectors general reported that 14,000 "home buyers" have wrongly gotten tax credits under the 2008 real-estate-panic law. Now, there were bound to be slip-ups, but 1,300 of the 14,000 questionable "home buyers" were in prison at the time, including 241 serving life sentences, and 67 others bought the same house. (IRS sniffed that only a tiny few payouts appear to have been fraudulent [ed. likely because only a tiny number of scammers are cynical enough to understand that IRS can actually be defrauded from a prison cell].) CNN Money
The Pentagon says it can't "buy American" choppers for Afghanistan, thus enraging all the Senators and Congressmen from military-industrial districts. In fact, DoD feels it must buy Russian choppers because by the time most Afghan airmen, who have limited attention spans and who learned to fly on Russian choppers learn to fly U.S. craft, Gen. Petraeus'll be playing shuffleboard at the Old Soldiers' Home. Washington Post
"If you or I did what the Diocese of San Diego did in [its recent] bankruptcy [to stanch the flow of lawsuit damages arising from priests' sexual-abuse cases], we'd be charged with bankruptcy fraud, and we'd probably be in prison." That was attorney John Manly, who said he's found lots of wealth-hiding, obstruction-of-justice schemes by both the Diocese and the Vatican, itself. Star Tribune
The week saw the publication of the 2010 Eden Wildlife Report, which tracks the numbers of foreign species introduced to the UK over the past century. Compiled by Dr. Toni Bunnell and a team from the University of Hull, the report mentions wallabies thriving in Scotland, scorpions setting up home in Kent and aardvarks that have somehow emigrated from Brazil to Cumbria (Telegraph).
Of course, this won’t be news to one member of Britain’s thriving rod-fishing community, who this week caught a piranha in his local pond (Guardian).
Another place you might not expect to see exotic creatures is on your lunch menu, but that didn’t stop one restaurant owner in Mesa, AZ from putting “lion burgers” on the menu to celebrate soccer’s World Cup. Cameron Selogie of the Il Vinaio makes his “mane course” with genuine lion meat imported from South Africa, earning him the ire of local animal rights groups and several death threats, but not a reprimand from health officials. According to an FDA spokesman serving lion meat is perfectly legal, as long as it’s not roar (Scotsman).
Slightly luckier than the lions, one cat who has fallen on his feet is Oscar, a housecat from the Isle of Jersey in the UK, widely billed as the “bionic cat” after successfully receiving two artificial hind legs to replace the ones he lost in an altercation with a combine harvester (BBC News).
You might think pitting a rodent like mammal against a 12 tonne Triceratops makes for an equally one-sided match up, but evidence emerged recently that our primitive ancestors occasionally feasted upon dinosaurs. Seventy-five million year old “gnaw marks” of a kind characteristic of early mammals, and belonging to a creature not much bigger than a squirrel, have been found on the fossil bones both of Tricerotops and the crocodile-like predator Champsosaurus (LiveScience).
Sadly today the nearest we get to dinosaur flesh is turkey or chicken, but not all birds were prized solely for their meat. The huia bird of New Zealand for example, was once used to make the feathered head-dresses of Maori chiefs, until predation from accidentally introduced species drove it to extinction around 1907. But if the bird has gone its feathers have not, and one recently became the most expensive feather ever when it sold at auction for NZ$8000, i.e. $4000 American (Telegraph).
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.